Interview with Juliet – University of Copenhagen

In Touch With Real Life 

Juliet, MSc student at Agricultural Economics, University of Copenhagen

A pound of minced beef for one pound. When supermarkets make specials like that, something has had to give. It could be the profit of the supermarket, but often it is animal welfare. Many consumers know this, but that does not stop them from buying this week’s special. Agricultural Economics is about understanding such mechanisms and creating economic analysis’ which can be the basis of alternative policies on such issues.

Four wheel drives or starving children in developing countries? Dilemmas like this should not exist, but they do. Should industrialised countries produce biofuels based on crops to ensure that people can continue to drive four wheel drives or should the crop production be focused on feeding the starving children in developing countries in stead?

Often economic considerations and incentives can give you the answer and these perspectives on her studies in Agricultural Economics are strong motivating factors for Juliet. But on a scientific level, Juliet is fascinated by studies in crop biotechnology:

“For instance, crop biotechnology can positively influence the production of food in the developing countries which again influence food prices on the world market", Juliet says.

Her example illustrates the complexity of a globalised world. If farmers in developing countries can produce longer crops which can produce more food, then developing countries will not have to buy food produced in industrialised countries. Naturally, the more self-sufficient developing countries can become, the lower the prices on food products will be on the world market. The economic, social and political consequences of this are significant – for the developing as well as industrialised countries.

After half a year of studies at Faculty of Science (SCIENCE) at University of Copenhagen, Juliet feels that her expectations to the programme have been meet. She finds that the research based teaching is of high quality and that the programme offers hands-on experience through excursions and real life cases. An extraordinary feature of studies at SCIENCE is group work in which students from all over the world collaborates on real life cases. Juliet believes that this way of solving problems result in intercultural understanding and great collaboration skills, which can be applied in your future professional career. Sure, Juliet says, group work can also be challenging, frustrating and a lot of hard work, but generally, it is a great study method.

Another great thing about studying at SCIENCE is the close student-professor relationship which is informal and allows students to participate in discussions with the professor.

International study environment

Many of the students in Juliet’s classes are from countries around the world. Mostly, she is doing group work or socialising with fellow international students, but it is only natural, as all international degree students at the Faculty have met for the International Graduate Orientation programme for a whole month in August prior to semester start. The introductory course makes it possible to make friends with other international students, get settled at SCIENCE, in Copenhagen and in Denmark, so you get to know your way around – physically as well as in the Danish culture and language.

“I’ve experienced that, at first, Danes can seem a bit reserved, but once you get to know them, they are very nice and helpful”, Juliet says.

In touch with real life

Juliet feels confident that the hands-on experience she gets through the Agricultural Economics programme will make it possible for her to work on a farm upon graduation, but she is also considering pursuing a PhD at SCIENCE. She is still undecided, but she knows that she would definitely like to stay in Denmark.